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September 15, 2016 - 6:23pm

Family hopes to find driver of red SUV involved in hit-and-run accident in Elba

posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba, news.

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Somebody knows who was driving this vehicle at 10:40 a.m., Saturday, when it T-boned a car with two small children in it at the intersection of North Byron Road and Transit Road, Elba.

The driver fled the scene and the vehicle was found in a wooded area the next day off of Spoil Bank Road, in the mucklands.

The car had Ohio plates that didn't match the VIN number. There were receipts for Verizon calling plans in the vehicle.

Peggy Zambito, the grandmother of the two children, said her family is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver.

It's a miracle and only through the grace of God, she said, that she, her daughter, Mercy Caparco, and her two grandchildren, Maggie, 5, and Molly, 2, were uninjured in the accident.

The Ford Explorer Caparco was driving rolled over multiple times and narrowly missed hitting a fire hydrant and a tree.

The other driver, Zambito said, was speeding and though they saw him coming, couldn't avoid getting hit.

"I knew he was going so fast he wouldn’t have been able to stop if he tried," Zambito said.

Zambito said the safety features of the vehicle -- strong seatbelts and side airbags -- helped keep them all safe.

"I will always be haunted by the face of my daughter looking, craning her neck as we're rolling over to look (at her children)," Zambito said. "She said, 'Mom, I don't see blood. I don't see blood.' That will haunt me to my dying day."

She was able to find her mobile phone and call 9-1-1 as soon as the car stopped rolling over.

"I'm a retired nurse," she said. "I tend to stay calm in an emergency and then fall apart later."

The rear axle with a tire attached snapped off and landed 30 feet from the vehicle.

"It's a miracle we were able to just get out of that vehicle," she said.

Incredibly, the insurance company originally said it wouldn't total the car, but only pay for repairs, but then later today, Zambito said, she got word the decision was being reconsidered by another department.

Zambito realizes the red SUV that struck them may have been driven by a migrant worker, perhaps undocumented, which is why he fled, but she also realizes, she said, most migrant workers are decent, hard-working and family oriented. Perhaps if this story makes the rounds or a worker sees the posters the family plans to post at the Yellow Goose in Elba, somebody will come forward and identify the driver.

Apparently, one person did tell a deputy who he thinks usually drives the vehicle, but that person has witnesses who say he was at work at the time of the accident, Zambito said.

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